The Zcash community needs to get its act together fast—in fact, four months sooner than anyone expected.

That news was delivered today during a keynote speech by Electric Coin Company CEO Zooko Wilcox at Zcash’s annual conference. Initially, it was assumed that the community had until October to reach consensus on how to continue funding its platform—because that’s when the funding ends. But Wilcox said that wasn’t the case.

“If our runway gets below about 12 months, we’re pretty much forced to pivot,” he said at Zcon1 in Split, Croatia.

This means if the community decides to keep funding the Electric Coin Company (ECC) to continue developing the Zcash blockchain, it will need to do so by June, 2020. Otherwise, the ECC will begin looking for alternative forms of funding, a distraction that will take its focus away from the development of Zcash.


The ECC put the funding decision in the hands of the community to show that it’s not in complete control over the network, which is supposed to be decentralized.

“We don’t think we should be putting forward a proposal,” said Wilcox. “I don’t know if this was the right call, but I said: if I put forward a proposal, and then everyone agreed on it, we would be accused that the agreement was insincere. Therefore I’m not going to put forward a proposal.”

However, this has caused a few headaches in the community since there’s no governance mechanism for it to make decisions—especially one so crucial to the network’s survival. A few suggestions have been made online but it is not clear who has the authority to choose which governance mechanism to use.

Wilcox wore a Zebra costume for a full day at Zcon1—despite the blistering heat.
Wilcox wore a zebra costume for a full day at Zcon1—despite the blistering heat.

Wilcox also revealed the current state of the ECC’s finances. He said that it has $3.35 million in the bank and is holding 29,096 ZEC ($3.2 million)—the native coin on the Zcash network. This, in addition to the block rewards it will continue to receive until 2020, will fund the salaries of the developers and engineers working on the blockchain.


He also reaffirmed the recent update that the percentage of block rewards that goes to the ECC has gone up from four percent to eight percent. This is due to several of the founders and early advisors—who were receiving some of the Founders’ Reward—reassigning their portions of the coins towards the ECC and the Zcash Foundation instead.

Regarding regulation, Wilcox said that the “tipping point has happened” and that due to Facebook’s Libra, much clearer crypto regulation is on its way. He added that the Zcash community has a strong part to play in that, standing up for privacy in digital assets across the board.

As for Zcash’s future, Wilcox said the ECC is looking to provide interoperability between Zcash and the Ethereum blockchain. That would allow cross-chain swaps between the two cryptocurrencies, allowing money to pass between them much more easily.

While the speech was full of uncertainty in terms of the impending funding crisis, Wilcox reminded the audience that, for now, “We’re all in on ZEC. All the zebras are in the zeal together.” Whatever that means.

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